Christmas came early last year for Carol and Faye Bevis of the Stecal Akitas when they received through the post a treasure trove of Akita memorabilia half a century old.
The collection of collars, leads and trophies belonged to a dog and bitch named Major and Cindy, and the remarkable history of how they made their way from Japan, via America, to the home of the Stecals can be read in full on www.stecal.com/history.htm
The story began when Carol was a child; brought up by her grandfather Albert Binyon, Carol was a ‘dog fanatic’, attending shows from the age of nine.
Years passed and Carol’s grandfather sadly died, when his great-granddaughter Faye was just a few weeks old. Going through Albert’s effects, Carol came across a photo of a gentleman walking a dog, an Akita, of all breeds! She made enquiries of Akita people but to no avail; no-one was able to identify the man in the photograph. The puzzle was to remain just that for almost a decade when, looking through The World of the Akita, Carol came upon a photograph of her mystery man, identified as Mr Pattee, pictured with two Akitas, Major and Cindy.
From then on Carol devoted her spare time to trying to find out why her grandfather had this photo. Eventually she obtained an address for Mr Pattee - which it turned out was in Albert’s phone book all along! - and wrote to him with the story of the photograph. The reply astonished Carol, for it transpired that ‘Mr Pattee’ was Albert’s brother in law, and he and wife Merril had spent some years in Japan during which they showed dogs.
Furthermore, Merril’s letter revealed that Mr Pattee’s Akita bitch Cindy remarkably overcame all odds to become the first female in Japan to take the Grand Championship!
Merril went on to tell how, having acquired Major in Japan, the Pattees brought the pair back to the States - extremely rare at a time when Akitas were so treasured they were seldom allowed out of Japan - where they produced a litter of 12 pups.
The icing on the cake came with Carol’s discovery that both Major and Cindy appear generations back in the pedigree of her own ‘Ch Redwitch Prince Consort at Stecal’, convincing her that ‘what is meant to be, is meant to be’, and that Akitas are truly ‘hereditary’!
One of Cindy’s beautifully embroidered trophies